As noted last week, EventCheck Knox reached its first anniversary. After a year of loading content onto the calendar, I have compiled a checklist of the top five things planners need to address.
Your website page for the event should be complete with date, time, location, contact information and ticket cost, if applicable, as soon as possible.
This past spring, two weeks before a major fundraiser for an organization, the online information still didn’t list a time or ticket price or even how to buy tickets. I called to get the information to add to the EventCheck Knox listing. While our site is not one of promotion – our intent is to let planners know well in advance when other events are scheduled to avoid conflicts – we do realize the public will consult the calendar for information.
One week before this event, the planners made phone calls to try to boost attendance. Organizations are losing attendees and money by not having sufficient information readily available online.
Make it easy to buy those tickets. We have a spot on each calendar listing that will link to the event. When opened, this link needs to easily direct people to ticket information.
While mailed invitations and RSVP cards often include a way to attend – or donate without attending – organizers are losing guests and money by not making it as easy as possible. People are more likely to quickly complete a transaction online than take the time to fill out a form, write a check, find a stamp and mail it.
Speaking of invitations, they are a great idea. But just like your website, they need to be complete with date, time, location, etc.
List a start time and, if known, an end time. A schedule helps, too. If the event starts at 6:30 p.m., but the first hour before dinner or a ceremony is for cocktails, then specify that.
Don’t hold guests “hostage” – as one attendee put it to me – waiting for the primary event, especially if the invitation indicated it would be earlier in the evening.
On the flip side, a schedule ensures attendees are in place on time.
If the main program or dinner begins promptly at the event’s announced start time, an attendee could miss it thinking the first hour was set aside for cocktails.
Provide an estimation for the length of the event, if possible. If an attendee expects a two-hour event and is still there three hours later, that is likely to be a late arrival or no show at your next event.
Suggest attire. Guests don’t want to guess what to wear. Some events are obviously dressy ones, but others are in a gray area. Is business casual OK? How about casual? Is cocktail attire preferable? The submission entry for EventCheck Knox includes a box for attire, and too many planners don’t select an option.
Also, help attendees in advance by noting the attire on the event website and invitation. And be practical. If the main event starts at 5:30 p.m. on a weekday, dressy or black tie is not really feasible for attendees arriving right after work.
If your event is outdoors, the attire should fit the expected weather, especially in the heat of summer. A luncheon or early evening dinner set up outside could get uncomfortable for guests who are overdressed. No one wants to sit at an event and pour sweat, especially in fancy clothes.
The final tip cycles back to the first one.
The event page on your website is critical. It also is outdated as soon as your event ends. Update the page by thanking attendees and posting some photos. If it’s an annual event, ask people to stay tuned for next year’s date.
Select a date as soon as possible and send it to EventCheck Knox so we can get it on the calendar. Do the same on your website. Details can be added later – and those are important as noted above – but the reserved date is the starting point.
EventCheck Knox wants to help planners not have to compete for attendees by having similar events scheduled for the same day. We also want to have listings that are as thorough and complete as possible.
Thank you for using EventCheck Knox!
Maria Cornelius, a writer/editor for Moxley Carmichael, populates the EventCheck Knox calendar. Now that it’s hot, look for her at a Smokies game with a cold Miller Lite in one hand and a baseball glove on the other.